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Speed Limits in Spain – What you should know

Speed limits in SpainDifferent countries have different speed limits, laws and road rules – there is generally no universal approach to driving. If you do not have a clear notion of the speed limits or how a foreign driving system works, you could end up with a nasty speeding fine or even a police sentence – this would obviously ruin your holiday!

We strongly advise taking time to research the driving laws and limits within a foreign country before travelling there. Furthermore, it is advisable to research driving habits and etiquette – different cultures have different driving etiquette and habits; failure to understand these nuances could also result in unfavourable incidents with foreign drivers.

Until 1973, Spain actually had no speed limits, particularly on motorways. Since then, various speed limits have been instated and there is a maximum speed on any road of 120km/h. For your benefit, we have compiled a list of Spanish speed limits together with some rules and regulations regarding enforcement and speed cameras.        

Standard Speed limits

The speed limits in Spain are listed in Kilometres per hour. Speed limits are set and regulated by the Spanish government. There is no standard speed limit that applies to all roads within Spain; instead, there are separate speed limits for each different road type. We have listed the various speed limits together with a description of the type of road the limit applies too:

Motorway / Autovia

Spanish motorways are classed as Autopistas and Autovias
– the different depends on how the road is maintained. The main identifying point of a Spanish motorway is the presence of a divided road with at least two lanes in both directions. Motorway speed limits are as follows:

- Cars and Motorbikes: 120 km/h
- Buses and Vans: 100 km/h
- Trucks and vehicles with a trailer weighing 750 kg or less: 90 km/h
- Vehicles with a trailer weighing more than 750 kg: 80 km/h

It should be noted that bicycles and mopeds are not permitted to drive on Spanish motorways – mopeds are banned completely, and bicycles can only travel on the motorway shoulder.  

Standard Roads Type 1

Aside from motorways, there are two different speed limit groups for standard roads. The first type of road must have at least one of the following criteria: one-way roads, roads with dual carriageways for at least one direction of traffic, and roads with shoulders 1.5m or more in width. Standard Road Type 1 speed limits are as follows:

- Cars and Motorbikes: 100 km/h
- Buses and Vans: 90 km/h
- Trucks and vehicles with a trailer weighing 750 kg or less: 90 km/h
- Vehicles with a trailer weighing more than 750 kg: 80 km/h
- Bicycles and mopeds: 45 km/h

Standard Roads Type 2

The second type of road is basically any other road that doesn’t fall under the above categories. Standard speed limits for other Spanish roads are as follows:

- Cars and Motorbikes: 900 km/h
- Buses and Vans: 80 km/h
- Trucks and vehicles with a trailer weighing 750 kg or less: 70 km/h
- Vehicles with a trailer weighing more than 750 kg: 80 km/h
- Bicycles and mopeds: 45 km/h

Built up Areas

Finally, there is a separate set of speed limits for built-up areas – these are areas such as city centres, towns and villages where a population is present:

- All motor vehicles: 50 km/h
- Bicycles and mopeds: 45 km/h
 It should be noted that school buses are required to reduce their speed limit by 10 km/h in built-up areas as an extra safety measure.

Speed Limit Enforcement

Now that you understand the speed limits in Spain, it is also important to understand about speed enforcement and speed cameras. We advise obeying the legal speed limits at all times when driving in a foreign country – speed limits are given for a reason and generally help maintain a high level of vehicle safety. If you do happen to exceed a speed limit, the following charges could apply:

Speeding fines/charges

Speeding fines can be issued on the spot in Spain by the police force. If you pay a fine within 20 days the fee is reduced by 50% - you can also contest a speeding fine up to 15 days after. Foreigners travelling within Spain must pay a speeding fine immediately otherwise they risk having their vehicle impounded.

Speed Cameras

Traditionally, speed cameras in Spain are hidden and non-visible to drivers. This is changing however and speed cameras are now being moved into visible positions, particularly where accidents have happened. Spanish speed cameras are usually a large rectangular grey box with a clearly visible camera on the front. Speed cameras typically fine an offender if they are travelling 7% or more over the stated speed limit.

We hope you have found this information valuable! We want your Drivalia hire-car experience to be as favourable as possible therefore we feel information such as the above should be given freely – know your speed limits and enjoy a trouble-free adventure in Spain!